Probate comes from a Latin word meaning to test something. In this legal context, what’s being tested is the will a person leaves behind when he or she dies, and the instructions for distribution of that person's estate and other matters.
This is how it works:
- When someone dies, the court evaluates whether his or her will--if a will was written-- is valid.
- The deceased person’s property is identified, inventoried, and appraised.
- All outstanding debts and taxes are settled and paid.
- The remaining property is then distributed to heirs as the will stipulates.
Each state, including Kentucky, has specific (and sometimes strict) rules on the way a will must be drafted and signed in order to become valid and legally binding. These rules are found in the Kentucky state statutes. The court system has always recognized the importance of one's last will and testament, and the orderly and fair distribution of property.
On the other hand, delaying distribution harms those who must wait and pay court costs in the interim. If a will is found to be valid, then real estate, personal property and even pets will be distributed according to the wishes stated in it.
Since probate is time-consuming, stressful, and expensive, you should do everything in your power to avoid it. In order for money or property to escape this process, it must not be legally part of the estate at the time of death.
I, D. Bruce Orwin, can demystify the probate process for you and advise you on the best legal tools at your disposal. I will assist you throughout the probate process and even handle litigation if there are disputes among beneficiaries.
In my more than 30 years in law practice I have served thousands of clients in south central Kentucky. As a sole practitioner, I spend time getting to know you, your needs, and your legal concerns. If matters related to probate, wills, or estate planning do arise, I will already be in a position to proactively solve those problems.
I have been recognized with awards such as:
The Poundstone Award for volunteer service to the Kentucky Nature Conservancy for pro bono representation in land acquisitions by the Nature Conservancy, and the 2003 First Amendment Award by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Contact Me Today
Contact me for an initial consultation. I offer you real solutions and a mutually-beneficial, long lasting professional relationship.